FAQ about Sarplaninac

These are some routine questions we get asked, if you have more specific questions about the Sarplaninac as a home/ family guardian or as a Livestock Guardian dog,
please do not hesitate to ask.

 What is a "Livestock Guardian Dog"

These dogs originated in Europe and Asia, where they have been used for centuries to protect livestock from predators. Each breed was developed based on the needs of the Shepherd, the area, climate, predators etc all of which attributed to the individual breeds temperament, conformation, coat, behavior and character. There are a large number of LGD such as the Anatolian, Kangal, Great Pyranees, Maremma, Tatra, Central Asian Shepherd and many more. Licvestock guardian dogs are not herding dogs, but are protectors of their stock.

How do you pronounce the name Šarplaninac?

The most common way to pronounce the name is Shar-pla-nee-nac  or Shar-pla-nee-natz

Where do they come from?

From the mountains (Shara Mountain) in former Yugoslavia. The breed has since the break up of Yugoslavia  been assigned to Macedonia as the country of origin.
They are found throught the Balkans.

What is the most important thing about a Sarplaninac that must be completely understood by anyone considering getting one as a pet?

The Sarplaninac is a strong willed, fairly stubborn and dominant natured dog. He is highly protective of his family, his kids, his home and his stock. They are free thinkers, not very obedient or subservient. They can be canine aggressive, to dogs they do not know. They are intelligent dogs, good at problem solving and have an innate survival instinct. These dogs are  large dogs and physically very powerful. You need to understand that consequent, clear responses from you are required. There should be zero tolerance for any behavior that may be inappropriate.

From the UKC: Despite being slightly smaller than many other livestock guarding breeds, the Sarplaninac is characterized by extraordinary strength and large teeth, making it a formidable adversary of predatory animals. This breed has a typical livestock guarding temperament: highly intelligent and independent; devoted to family members and wary of strangers; calm and steady but fearless and quick to react to perceived threats.

Do  Sarplaninac bark a lot?

One of the integral parts of guarding behavior is barking. The  Sarplaninac will  bark at anything he senses to be out of the ordinary or in any way threatening. Many  livestock guardian dogs bark at intervals, especially during the night, to warn predators  that a dog is on duty. If you have close neighbors, it is a very good idea to provide them  with information about LGDs so that they understand how the dogs work, and what they do to protect the stock. The Sarplaninac is not regarded as yappy or excessive barkers. The bark when they perceive something out of the ordinary or a direct threat.

How long does a Sarplaninac live?

They can live up to 10 - 14 years.  We had one that got to be 17 years old.

How big do they get?

 From the UKC breed standard: Height at maturity, measured at the withers is 24 inches or over for males and 22½ inches or over for females. Mature males in good working condition weigh between 77 and 99 pounds. Mature females in good working condition weigh between 66 and 88 pounds. They are regarded as medium sized guardian dogs. Various breed standards do mention different heights /weights. Most Sarplaninac are heavier than what the UKC breed standard mentions. Our Males average between 100-125 lbs and females between 88-98 lbs.

Do Sarplaninac shed?

Yes!!!They are a double coated breed and blow their coat in large amounts.
They do need regular brushing.
Shaving is NOT recommended.

Do they dig?

Yes, they love to dig holes to lay in in the cool ground on warm summer days.

What about climate?

The Sarplaninac originate in an inland mountain climate. Due to their good quality coat they can withstand very cold temperatures.
They do not do well in extreme hot climates, however can handle quite a large temperature range. The will require shade in the summer months.

Do Sarplaninac have any health problems?

Yes, like all large breeds hip dysplasia and other structural problems can occur.  Bloating can also be an issue with any deep barreled breeds. They can be sensitive to anesthesia, which should be administered with care, proper weighing and monitoring. Care needs to be taken with flea and tick sprays. In general there are no specific breed health problems. Most of the problems that are found are primarily problems found in most large breed dogs.

Does the  Sarplaninac make a good family pet?  

Yes, they do, HOWEVER, they may be very protective of your home and family.  
They are not necessarily very sociable in the dog park.
They are calm protectors. They can be aloof and standoffish to strangers.

Are they good with other dogs?

They are generally  good with dogs they have been raised with.
They can however be canine aggressive, this is part and parcel of owning a Livestock guardian dog, who will protect its flocks from wolves.
Problems between adult males and adult females can be very problematic.

Are Sarplaninac good with children?

Most sars are great with children, however as a young pup they may be rough and playful and due to their size can easily knock over a smaller child. When walking on a lead they can easily drag a smaller person unless well trained. Some can become rather food aggressive and will need to be watched. We believe that no small children should be unsupervised around any dog
(large or small)!


 Do we need a fence?

YES.   Secure fencing is a must to safely contain your livestock guardian dog.  Most guardian dogs like to expand their territory and will roam. This can be a liability should they hurt someone, be involved in a motor accident or bite someone. A free roaming guarding dog/pet is NOT an option. Ever.

Reasons why  NOT to get a Sarplaninac?

If you require instant, unquestioned obedience to commands by your dog.
If you do not have generous amounts of time to spend with your dog.
If you do not have a large, fenced in yard, or securely fenced pastures. 
If you cannot commit to the complete  life span of the dog (up to 14+ years.)
If you are a person who doesn't like barking dogs or has neighbors who would 
object to a barking dog
If you cannot/will not supervise young children/strangers around your dog at all times.
If you battle to handle dogs with a dominant nature.
Do not want to spend time working with your Sarplaninac to become a solid and reliable LGD.
Believe in feral LGD dogs.
Want to do aggression or guard dog training.